Worldwide, millions and millions of children do not attend school, especially in developing countries. Parents often have to keep them home to help with housekeeping or to contribute to the family income. Even if children would be able to go to school, they would often physically be unable to go.
The Afaayo (means “Care” in Luganda) sponsorship program gives vulnerable children from the poorest families of Namulanda rural area in Uganda, the opportunity to pursue an education that will enable them to realize their full potential and build a better future for themselves. The children enrolled in the Afaayo program are graduates of Nazareth Kindergarten, a nursery set up by Brit Olam’s volunteers to provide preschool education for the youngest children in the poorest areas of Namulanda.
The program matches an individual or group of donors with a child, who they support throughout the length of their studies , from primary school to higher education (a total of up to 18 years of education). The children are being sent to boarding schools to ensure high quality education.The donors receive periodic updates, letters and photos of the child and are able to track their progress throughout the period.
You are welcome to read more about our current Sponsorship program.
Aims and Vision of Afaayo
The main aim of the program is to enable the children to receive a high quality of education which will allow them to achieve their dream of learning and offers them a path out of poverty.
Sadly, public education in Uganda is at such a low standard that often there is little benefit in sending children to public schools, especially those from poorer families where the parents are often not able to support the children outside of the classroom. So, the children in the Afaayo program are being sent to boarding schools where education and livelihood is provided in the highest level. Although the government of Uganda recognizes education as a basic human right, reality on the ground is that many factors, mainly lack of funding, means that education is so poor that school dropout rates are very high, meaning that children do not receive even the most minimal level of education that should be the right of every child.
The children enrolled in the Afaayo program are graduates of Nazareth Kindergarten, a nursery set up by Brit Olam’s volunteers to provide preschool education for the youngest children in the slums of Namulanda. The kindergarten is managed by local staff and supported by volunteers, and provides a safe and caring environment where they are able to play, learn and receive a nutritious meal.
Once they have graduated from the kindergarten it is vital that the children are able to continue with their education. The children selected for the Afaayo program are the neediest children amongst a largely vulnerable population. The children often come from single parent, mostly illiterate families who are unable to pay even the minimal fees required to attend the Ugandan public school system. If not for the program there would be little chance that the children would be able to attend school, let alone a school that would allow them to gain an adequate level of education that can ensure them a better future.
The program has been running for over six years, and we can already see the impact it has had on the lives of the participants. All the children have continuously managed to pass their exams and were able to continue up throughout the school system. Because they feel they have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity which not many of their peers or family members are able to receive, most of our children are highly motivated and some are amongst the highest achievers in their class. We are sure that with additional support the rest could follow. Last year (2019) we had children in levels ranging from primary seven up until upper secondary, all of who have been in the program for a number of years. This shows the sustainability and continuity of the program, and the importance of the connections between the donor and the child.
Background – The Nazareth Child Care Center in Namelanda
Nazareth is a joint initiative of Brit Olam and Nagenda International Academy for Art and Design (NIAAD) in Uganda as part of their commitment and willingness to attend to the needs of the wider community of the village of Namulanda in Uganda.
During 2011, Brit Olam’s volunteers noticed a need among dozens of the community’s children for an educational framework. Israeli volunteers, led by Ms. Noa Baron, together with the students of Muse Uganda (an Israeli-Ugandan initiative for rehabilitating internally displaced youth from Uganda and neighboring countries through art education) and the local NIAAD staff they founded the Child Care Center and brought it to life at the end of 2011.
The project emerged gradually and in 2014, thanks to donations from the Kremerman Family Foundation, new classrooms were built for the center. The Nazaerth child care center is located in a poor semi-rural area, on the outskirts of the Namulanda village, a former fishermen’s village.
Due to the dramatic decrease in fishery in Lake Victoria, many of the fathers abandoned their families, leaving the children in the hands of a single mother or other relatives. The majority of the population in the area consists of deprived local and refugee families, who are living in very basic conditions. To date, the Child Care Center educates 70 children each year between the ages of 3-6. The staff includes four teachers, a local volunteer coordinator and in addition, an Israeli Volunteer coordinator who supports the program by mobilizing volunteers from Israel.